November 19, 2012


A. Comments by the President.

President Powers welcomed everyone and said he wanted to address in more detail one of the questions asked at the meeting on October 15 about the University budget. He explained that the University, in lieu of the proposed tuition increase that was not granted, received a one-time Available University Fund (AUF) allotment in the amount of $30 million for the next biennium. He said the AUF allotment had been labeled as “academic administration,” even though the funds were not earmarked for administrative costs; the funds were actually allocated by the Office of the Provost for academic expenditures, such as for teaching assistants and courses being offered. Since the AUF allotment was non-recurring, the president said the money could not be used for regular expenses such as faculty raises or new hires. He emphasized that the funds were not used to increase funding for the administration and noted that the label for incoming funds would be carefully considered in the future to prevent confusion.

Since Proposition 1 was approved in the recent election and will provide needed funding for the medical school, President Powers said he wanted to comment about the plans to move forward to accomplish this important goal. First, steps are currently underway to form steering committees and other groups to look into the curriculum and organization of the new school. Traditionally, he indicated, a medical school would have a chief of surgery and a chief of medicine and be lead by a dean. To get this process of filling key staff positions underway, President Powers expected the search for a dean would begin around the end of the current calendar year and extend into 2013. This individual would then take charge and manage further developments, including new curricula for the first four years of medical education, interdisciplinary programs, and accreditation issues.

President Powers indicated that state-owned land south of the Frank Erwin Center and north of Brackenridge Hospital was a possible location for the new medical school. He said this area would be in close proximity to the School of Nursing and the School of Pharmacy, as well as easily accessible for other programs that will likely be cooperating with the new school, such as nutrition, chemistry, and biochemistry, etc. He mentioned that another consideration is the Dell Pediatric Research Institute and the Dell Children’s Medical Center, which are both located on the site of the old Robert Mueller Airport. He said the University would continue working with stakeholders and neighborhoods in determining the medical school’s location. He also emphasized that no funds will be diverted from the UT Austin’s main campus budget for the medical school. The president said getting the medical school actually built and academic programs up and running would still require a great deal of effort and work, but he summed up the current situation as a “good moment” for UT Austin and closed his comments by wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

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